Although no hunting trip involves as much packing as any vacation tour, several things are an absolute must in every hunter’s backpack (itself included). Our ancestors from several millennia ago would probably disagree, saying you need nothing more than a spear or a bow and a couple of arrows. Such a statement is hard to contradict – they did manage to hunt animals successfully with nothing else, after all. But who would refuse the fruits of progress just to avoid carrying extra pounds? The benefits granted to you by your hunting equipment set outweigh the hardships of carrying things by far. Any seasoned hunter will tell you that you can never be over-prepared. You can, however, be over-encumbered with things that are of little use during hunting.

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To utilize the limited space of your backpack with utmost effectiveness, one needs to know which things should be brought and which need to stay home. Trust us on this one – we are one of the best sporting goods stores out there (not according to us, by the way). Equipment is not only about your backpack, though. Things you put on and carry on your personal matter as much as what you have in your backpacks. Here’s our list of hunting supplies must-haves for those who don’t like returning home empty-handed. 

Hunting Clothing

That is not a reminder to refrain from going hunting nude – we trust your reasoning. What we talk about is dressing properly for the occasion. Even though no one would call regular clothing functionless, hunting apparel brings functionality to a whole new level. Hunting clothing is about performance, not look (it looks kinda cool, though). All the jokes about people in camo being invisible originate from the apparel’s primary function – to conceal you from the prying eyes. In our case, those are animal eyes, and we need all the cover we can get to hide from them. Be it the sharpness of eyesight or the ability to discern even the slightest move, animals are much more perceptive than us. That is because their survival depends on the ability to spot danger before it catches up to them. They also have the advantage of being in their natural habitat where we are but brief visitors, strangers that traded the ability to climb the trees for a bigger brain a long time ago. Not the worst tradeoff, but it doesn’t help much when hunting. Or does it? It is our brain that came up with the idea to use patterns to deceive animal vision, so you could say we are square. The patterns you can see on hunting apparel are not universal, some are more obviously so, like snow camo. The environment you hunt in is, however, not the only factor that should be considered. The game you hunt is equally important. The deer, for example, cannot boast the sharpest of visions, but they are extremely good at detecting movement. Just like dinosaurs. So instead of looking for a tree-bark-patterned jacket, you might want to opt for camo that breaks your outline and makes your movements less conspicuous. Deer also rely on smell, and there are pieces of clothing featuring fabric that helps suppress your odor. At the same time, birds, both waterfowl and upland, don’t rely on smell whatsoever but have very sharp eyesight. That’s why you should get something that will allow you to blend in with your surroundings. 

With all this camouflaging stuff it is easy to forget that clothing is first and foremost clothing, and it should be comfortable to wear. If you are a “walker”, you need to find something that won’t restrain your movements and turn your trip into an onerous marathon. If you hunt from a blind, you need to find something that will keep you warm while you are not moving. The baseline – hunting clothing is a must. 

Hunting Boots

Again, we don’t assume you have a habit of setting off on your hunting trips barefoot. We just want to advise you against wearing sneakers. Forest is s rugged terrain full of annoying bugs, inconspicuous prickly brunches, high grass, and whatnot. Even when it’s hot (and it’s always cooler in a forest), you don’t want to neglect your feet’s security. You need something with a durable sole that can protect your upper-ankle part of the leg and will have reinforced toes. The choice of hunting boots is more than abundant, so you will surely find something fitting. Spare your running boots the unforgettable trip across miles of rough terrain they may not survive. 

Hunting Rain Gear

Forecast anchors lie and get paid for it, so it might be wise not to trust those assurances of sunny weather. No rain should have the power to spoil your plans, especially those you’ve been looking forward to. You don’t need to have a complete anti-rain set of clothing packed in your backpack. A simple water-resistant raincoat will keep you dry for an hour or two. If you are of a stubborn sort, you might want a waterproof raincoat, but it will take up more space. 

Hunting Backpacks

A backpack is an ultimate container for outdoor enthusiasts, unparalleled in its convenience. It leaves your hands free, evenly distributing the weight across your back, and is quite spacious. That is if we talk about a tactical backpack, not one of those “laptop, water bottle, charger, nothing else” backpacks. Tactical backpacks, in addition to being full of compartments, are very durable. Many backpacks have several external pockets or separate hydration compartments, some have straps for firearm carrying. In brief, you can get much more than just a main compartment. 

Hunting Optics 

What we lack in our human sight, we can compensate for with optical devices. Binoculars and spotting scopes are frequent flyers in many outdoor enthusiasts’ backpacks, not only hunters. Who would turn down the opportunity to see further without even moving? Optics provide a huge benefit of spotting animals without disturbing them – a gift too appealing to give it up. Binoculars and spotting scopes stand pretty far from one another in magnification as they do in terms of compactness. If you want to save your backpack space for something bigger, binoculars are a better choice. The common magnification ranges between 8x and 12x, though more powerful options are available. You can carry them around your neck or pack them in a harness, but we strongly advise you against storing them together with the rest of the equipment lest the lenses should get scratched. The same applies to spotting scopes – their lenses are even bigger, and the bigger the surface, the higher the chances to scrape it. And since you can’t wear them around your neck (unless you are determined enough and have developed neck muscles), make sure you place them so that nothing has a chance to spoil the lens.

Hunting Optics1

Game Calls

We have to admit, there is something special about chasing an animal, looking for its tracks, and spotting other traces around you. It might happen, though, that there are no tracks in the vicinity, and all “a deer was here” signs got carried away by some conscious citizen. What’s a hunter to do? Have the game come to you! Game calls are yet another trick up the hunter’s sleeve that allures targeted animals who hear the call. You can compare it to a siren song – a voice that beckons you to your end. There are calls for all major types of game, including deer, countless species of waterfowl, turkeys, and so on. They hardly take up any space and are extremely useful once you get the hang of them. 

Hunting Knives and Multi-Tools 

A knife is one of the most common choices for a “deserted island” scenario due to its versatility and indispensability. A hunting trip has the same air, only without the need for survival and fear of death. The possible applications of a hunting knife are plenty and require an article of their own, let alone multi-tools whose name literally screams “functionality”. If you prioritize compactness, opt for foldable hunting knives.

Hunting Flashlights

Even if you are not a fan of visiting night forests, a flashlight should always lie somewhere on the bottom of your backpack. Every horror movie taking place in a forest has a flashlight scene, so it’s kind of an iconic item for all forest trips. Should you lose the track of time and find yourself surrounded by crawling twilight, a flashlight will be your life vest. It will save your phone’s charge and, well, won’t break your heart should it fall and break, which can’t be said about your phone. The greatest thing about tactical flashlights is that they are extra robust and won’t break so easily, so they are another must-have for every hunter. 

Scent Spray

Scent Spray

A must for all whitetail hunters, a spray scent can do two things, depending on which one you get. One finishes the work of removing your odor, not letting a deer smell you before you come close enough to make a shot. The second, containing deer hormones, will work in tandem with a game call, luring a buck for the final rendezvous.

All these items, if paired with your trusted rifle, a bow, or whatever it is that you hunt with, will ensure the most enjoyable hunt one can possibly have. The list is by no means complete, and every avid outdoorsman can probably add a few more things. Treat this one as a foundation you can build on, a backbone that can carry you through the most hunts.